The Block, an area that spans Eagle and South Market streets in downtown Asheville, was once home to a vibrant residential and commercial district for Black residents. But between the 1950s and 1980s, Asheville’s urban renewal policies that sought to address allegedly “blighted” areas of the city by removing homes and businesses to make way […]
“They’re just trying to teach us the truth about America and our local history.”
The speaker series is part of a three-phase process to create and empower a joint Asheville-Buncombe County Reparations Commission. Once formed, the commission would be tasked with making short-, medium- and long-term recommendations to repair the damage caused by public and private systemic racism.
“If we follow that logic, though, shouldn’t we also tear down Vance Elementary School rather than merely renaming it?”
“We cannot in good faith be praised for tourism, gentrification or other tributes to the mostly white recipients of American hospitality and opportunity without showing up in other ways to expunge, however minimally it is possible for a small city to do so, the mistakes — the tragedies — that our deliberate or ignorant behavior as a society keeps compounding year after year after year.”
As in hundreds of other cities throughout the country, urban renewal dramatically changed Asheville’s neighborhoods and streetscapes. Established by the Housing Act of 1949 to clear blighted neighborhoods, the federal initiative displaced millions of predominantly African American individuals and families between the 1950s and 1980s.